RAC-CA Issue Research Teams

About Issue Research Teams

RAC-CA has six issue research teams covering climate change, criminal justice, immigration, health care, housing, and gun violence prevention. Comprised of lay leaders and clergy, these teams research bills and ballot measures to help set our legislative agenda and mobilize congregational social justice teams. The four main responsibilities of issue research teams are to:

  • Identify bills and ballot measures which RAC-CA can work on
  • Stay in touch with allied groups about their issues
  • Identify actions that congregations can take to advance bills and ballot measures
  • Help reach out to appropriate congregations about actions they can take

Issue research teams play an important role within the broader RAC-CA structure. These groups make recommendations to the RAC-CA Leadership Team about which bills/ballot measures RAC-CA could support, develop strategies for advocacy in coordination with other research teams and the leadership team, and help congregational social justice teams move into action.

For more information on the structure and role of issue research teams, view the recording of our issue research team webinar from January 3, 2019.

List of Issue Research Team Chairs

  • Climate and Environmental Justice: Bob Kibrick, Temple Beth El in Aptos (kibrick@cruzio.com), Jane Nichol, Temple Judea in Tarzana (jane.m.nichol@gmail.com)
  • Criminal Justice:  Rabbi Suzanne Singer, Temple Beth El in Riverside (sznsinger@gmail.com), Lee Winkelman, California Organizing Director (lwinkelman@rac.org)
  • Immigration: Jess Winfield, Congregation Kol Ami in West Hollywood, (jess.winfield@gmail.com)
  • Housing: Debra Silverman, Temple Isaiah in Los Angeles (debra.silverman@gmail.com)
  • Gun Violence Prevention: Ben Ginsburg (ben.i.ginsburg@gmail.com), Ellen Israel, Temple Judea in Tarzana (erfisrael@gmail.com), Sheila Linderman, Temple Judea in Tarzana (sheilaelinderman@gmail.com)

RAC-CA Issue Research Timeline for 2019

  • January 3: Issue research team orientation webinar – view the recording here
  • February 13: Deadline to submit issue research team recommendations
  • February 27 at 7pm: Issue selection webinar (option 1)
  • March 1 at 9am: Issue selection webinar (option 2)

What are issue selection webinars? Clergy and lay leaders who are leading the social justice work in CA congregations will convene to weigh in on which bills they are most interested in working on. The content presented on both webinars will be identical, so sign up for whichever of the two webinars is most convenient for you.

  • August 20: Lobby Day at the State Capitol in Sacramento

Criteria for Selecting Bills and Ballot Measures

When recommending and selecting bills or ballot measures, issue research teams and the leadership team should use the following criteria.

  • Strong partner groups
  • We can make a difference to help pass the bill (it is not doomed to fail and not assured to pass without our help)
  • The bill should not only help marginalized people but should be a game changer; it should change the narrative and/or the power structure around the issue.
  • Is exciting to our leadership (Leadership Team and issue research team) and our base (people in our congregations) 
  • Is not polarizing in our congregations
  • Builds our power and leaves us in a stronger position to take more impactful actions in the future
  • Is in accordance with Jewish values 
  • There is URJ policy to support the bill